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The Haunting of Hill House - Bookhero
The Haunting of Hill House - Bookhero

The Haunting of Hill House

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Hill House is an eighty-year-old mansion built by a man named Hugh Crain. The story concerns four characters: Dr. John Montague, an investigator of the supernatural; Eleanor Vance, a shy young woman who resents having lived as a recluse caring for her demanding invalid mother; Theodora, a flamboyant, bohemian, possibly lesbian artist; and Luke Sanderson, the young heir to Hill House, who is host to the others.

Dr. Montague hopes to find scientific evidence of the existence of the supernatural. He rents Hill House for a summer and invites as his guests several people whom he has chosen because of their past experience with paranormal events. Of these, only Eleanor and Theodora accept. Eleanor travels to the house, where she and Theodora will live in isolation with Montague and Luke. Hill House has two caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Dudley, who refuse to stay near the house at night; Mrs. Dudley is blunt and single-minded. The four overnight visitors begin to form friendships as Dr. Montague explains the building’s history, which encompasses suicide and other violent deaths.

The four inhabitants begin to experience strange events while inside the house, including sounds and unseen spirits roaming the halls at night, strange writing on the walls and other unexplained phenomena. Eleanor, however, tends to experience phenomena to which the others are oblivious. At the same time, she may be losing touch with reality, since what she witnesses may in fact be products of her imagination. It is also suggested that Eleanor possesses a subconscious telekinetic ability which may be the cause of many of the disturbances experienced by her and the other members of the investigative team (which might indicate there is no ghost in the house at all); this theory is further supported by Eleanor's childhood memories of episodes of poltergeist-like phenomena.

The bossy and arrogant Mrs. Montague and her companion Arthur Parker, the headmaster of a boys’ school, arrive for a weekend to help investigate Hill House. They, too, are interested in the supernatural, including séances and spirit writing. Ironically, and unlike the other four characters, they don't experience anything supernatural, although some of Mrs. Montague’s alleged spirit writings seem to communicate with Eleanor.

Eleanor and Theodora are in a bedroom with an unseen force trying the door, and Eleanor believes after the fact that the hand she was holding in the darkness was not Theodora’s. Later, as Theodora and Eleanor walk outside Hill House at night, Theodora looks behind them and screams in fear for Eleanor to run. As it becomes clear to the characters that the house is beginning to possess Eleanor, Dr. Montague, for fear of her safety, declares that she must leave. However, Eleanor regards the house as her home, and resists. The others all butforce her into her car, but she is then killed when her car crashes into a large oak tree on the property.
Author: Shirley Jackson
ISBN: 9780143039983
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 182
Dimensions: 130 x 193